Friday, December 21, 2012

Long awaited....finally here....FREE BIKE LIGHTS!

If you look far enough back on this blog you'll find a lot of jabbering about the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory board (of which I'm now a member).  At some point a little group got started within BPAC that wanted to get a free light program together.  I got a few grants ($1500) from local Neighborhood Advisory Boards and NDOT kicked in about $3000!  Well after much bureaucracy with NDOT we finally got the purchase to go through with Planet Bike.

So, on this, the shortest day of the year we officially have the lights in hand (and free helmets) to begin the program.  Not bad for something that started last summer!  Anyway, they are similar to what you see below.  I'm going to try to grab a few sets today from the office and dole them out over the holidays.  There will also be upcoming distribution days and locations listed here and hopefully advertised in the local media.  So keep an eye out if you need a set of lights!

Since it's going to snow this weekend....

Someone should try this and let me know how it works out!

daily morning awesomeness 344 Daily Morning Awesomeness (40 Photos)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Chilitos.....not a mexican breakfast.

Ah, I guess that should be spelled Chilly Toes.  If you've been riding I'm sure you know exactly what I'm talking about.  I've been on my mountain bike lately (because I've been too lazy to rebuild my xtracycle) and this means I have to actually use my bike shoes.  Yes, believe it or not I do own clip in pedals for my more "serious" riding.  The problem is these types of shoes are designed for "serious" riders....who apparently only ride when it's warm out and ventilation of the feet is paramount!  Not the best for days when it's 10 degrees outside for the morning ride.

If you don't think it's been cold in the morning just check out the ice flows in the truckee!  Little slushy patches were everywhere the last couple days, along with ice lining the river banks!

So stay warm out there and protect those piggies!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wheelie Bar!

Ok, so I'm borrowing this from 26inchslicks (a Spokane bike blog) where the author has actually created one of these on his own.  The video is just too great to pass up on.

To be honest it does make you think on a little bigger level than cool wheelies (and they are cool).  This is the type of things kids used to wish for for Christmas (and Daisy Red Rider BB Guns), not PS3 and halo 4.  Notice that the average size of each of the kids (and the dad who's rocking the wheelie bar).  Not a fatty overweight kid in sight. Perhaps it's because they spent a bit more time outside riding bikes and not playing video games!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Lego needs a road diet!

Looks like lego has fallen victim to the designing wider and wider roads!  Time for a road diet!

Trail and Bike Lane "Debris"!

When you ride your bicycle regularly for transportation you really do start to notice things around town.  One of those things is how much detritus, debris, and garbage is on the streets.  This is more true at the edges of the roads as vehicle traffic tends to kick things to the side of the road.  The problem is....this is where we put our bike lanes.  As a result they are continually full of junk.  The result is that rider (especially roadies with skinny tires) tend to ride toward the vehicle side of the bike lanes and this increases interaction with traffic.

Today however, I found the "debris" to be a little more substantial!

Now of course this is on the river path, so traffic is no concern, but I'd hate to not be paying attention and hit this.  I did stop and try to remove it.  Rest assured it is definitely still right where you see it in the picture!  So if two are three of you are riding together you might be able to roll it off the trail but it's not a job for one person. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Shopping cart shuffle.

I realize that shopping carts are the Xtracycle / SUV of the homeless, but then why do they abandon them!  I mean really, finding a cart at the grocery store that doesn't have a bum wheel or a broken baby seat is kind of a chore.  Once you have one of the good ones don't you want to keep it!?


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wireless twelve speed groupset!

Ok, to be fair, I still have a bike that doesn't even use indexed I may not be the guy this particular component set is designed for.  I'm just not sure I see the need for wireless shifting.....or twelve speed cassettes.  The part that caught my eye is that the thing comes with a "separate" wireless control (at about 1:17)....meaning not part of the brake/shift lever!!  I'm guessing so your coach can shift for you!?

Seriously though, I don't want the setup.  I want my friends to have it....and I just want the remote!  Now that would make group rides all kinds of fun!  I know, it's an evil prank....but if it was available at a reasonable price right now you'd all be out buying it just for sport!

First day out......for skiing.

No bike riding for me today.  I popped up to Mt. Rose for a 1st day of skiing.  Not bad at all.  7-9 inches of nice soft stuff.  The "100% open" chutes were closed....but I'm sure they'll open again later in the day while I'm stuck at work.  So if you were wondering if the hills are ready, the answer is yes, so head on up and check out the snow!

Ok, so it wasn't quite this good.....but it was pretty darn good!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Normally I'd say biking with kids is safe, but.....


A tale of two idiots in 24 hours.

Interaction between cars and bikes happens every day and for the most park it works pretty well.  For the record both parties are stupid at times and that's just how it works.  Probably if each party considered the others perspective we'd get along that much better.

That being said....between the ride home last night and the ride in this morning I've been cut off by two vehicles.  Meaning cut off to the point that I physically made contact with the vehicle.  Now mind you both "contacts" occurred at about 1 mph due to me slamming on the breaks.  So people, please, pay attention to what you're doing out there regardless of if your driving or riding!!

So, on to the story. Riding home last night....I have two lights in the rear and about the brightest front light you can buy.  Lady passes (and gives me plenty of room).  Proceeds to veer into the left lane....I'm thinking she's parking on the that side of the street.....until she does the power right turn across both lanes into her driveway.  Remember, she just pasted me less than 100 yds before this......I caught her broad side in the passenger door and dam near ripped off her mirror in the process.  Her response, "Oh, Sorry."

She was pretty old so I just blew it off and headed for home.

Cut to this morning on the bike path.  I'm rolling through Fisherman's park across from the Mental health hospital.  There used to be a park here, but since they revamped the sewer treatment water intake, the park is gated off.  Just coming out of the park road is a small city garbage collector truck.  He looked at me, saw me coming and then drove across the path directly in front of me.  I had a nice rear wheel locked slide until I bumped his door and "politely" let him know how I felt about his lack of attention.  He just stammered in return.

I don't know what the problem is with folks.  I guess they just aren't paying attention and perhaps don't think bicycles can move that quickly.  Either way, PAY ATTENTION and this type of thing won't happen.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Travels and Bicycles....

So as I said yesterday, I've been traveling a bit, both for personal and work reasons.  The whole thing started out with a trip to Portland that has become a bit of a tradition.  It's focused around a week long holiday ale festival that happens in the center of downtown.  With no camera I don't have good pictures....but imagine an entire city block covered in clear roofed tents (two story tents with an actual second floor) with a giant (60 ft?) Christmas tree in the middle and about 100 beers on tap.  Yeah.....that's Christmas!

We also spend a considerable amount of time hitting up some of the 70+ breweries in Portland and checking out some of the great food they have.  In the wanderings this year I came across this:

Now if that's not pride in your bicycle culture I don't know what is!  I guess we still have a ways to go here in Reno.

This one is a terrible cell phone picture of a bicycle specific signal that tells right turning cars in a busy intersection they have to yield to bicycles!  Specific light up signals for bicyclists protection!  Only in Portland! that was the theme for Portland.  After being home for about 36 hours I then headed off to Spokane for a work trip.  Actually, I was a booth lacky at a conference, running a bunch of demonstrations on some of the software we use here at work.  Not to strenuous, just long hours and boring.

The main highlight for me was meeting a guy named Tom.  The interest should be obvious even in the blurry picture.  Many a hipster dreams of a beard like this.

Tom didn't fit the hipster profile (shocking).  Although being in the mining industry he did profess a fondness for blowing stuff up (which seems hipster-ish).  The whole time I talked with him however, I was picturing the aerodynamic effects that mustache would have while riding!  In Tom's case this riding would probably be a horse, but hey....I did say I was bored most of the time.

 Conferences like this don't allow you outside much, so I didn't get to really explore Spokane.  Bicycles are pretty prominent and there are signs of it this:

So all in all that's why things have been quiet on the posting.  I'm done with travel for a while so I'll try to keep things a bit more up to date.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Long time no post...

Sorry about the lack of content.  There has been a glut of travel over the past week and a half and I just haven't been sitting in front of a computer enough to get anything up here.  Not to worry....those travels have included Portland and Spokane, so there will be some bikey content shortly. 

I say shortly because for some reason my phone isn't letting me dump pictures......and we all know you're not visiting this page for the dynamic verbal banter!  So as soon as I have my tech issues resolved I'll share a bit of the recent adventures.

File:Portland Bike Stencil.jpg

Friday, November 30, 2012

Seems Legit....

seems legit 141 Yep, this all seems legit (26 Photos)

So....did you ride?

No pictures today folks.  As everyone probably knows it is dumping rain today (well at least for Reno).  Normally this type of weather totally gets me going for the ride.  I'm sure that makes most people think I'm nuts (and perhaps this is true), but it just takes the "normal" commute and makes it totally interesting to me!  It's not a big deal if you have fenders and a good waterproof jacket.  Besides, who doesn't remember the days when you used to aim for the puddles instead of avoiding them!

To that end....with the xtracycle out of commission I don't have a bike with fenders....

So, today I hoped a ride with wifey in the car (much to my chagrin).  It does have the advantage of being dry and we did manage to hit some puddles due to minor flooding under the bridges.  If fact, it's kind of cool to send that water flying in a car.  It definitely lacks the "stupid smile on your face" fun that riding a bike in the rain gives me, but mostly because you have to deal with traffic.  Anyway, that's my shameful story. 

Hope you had an enjoyable and wet commute!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Another "bump" in the road.

Here are a couple of pictures of one of the other jumps along the river trail.  This is the view you'd get if you're heading east on the river towards Sparks.  It's a little hard to see but the rock in the center of the picture is the lip of the jump.  Then it's just a nice left hand lean to make the hip landing and ride on your merry way along the path!

Here it is from a little more oblique view.  It is pretty steep and gives you a real pop when you hit it.  I started out on the shoulder and I'm still not hitting it totally off the top.  After all I am just on my way to work and not riding the bmx circuit race....

Whether you'd do it or not, you have to admit it sure adds some interesting options on the boring old commute to work!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hardcore bike commuter.

awesome photos 13 Daily Morning Awesomeness (35 Photos)

Even I'd be calling it a day with this one....

A hop, skip, and a JUMP to work!

Ok, so the Xtracycle is out of action for a few weeks, so I'm relying on some of my other bikes.  I've got a nice road bike and a mountain bike to choose from.  I'm riding the mountain bike so far.  Why you might ask....because I need to change a tire on the road bike, and apparently I'm really lazy!

So, why is this worth even mentioning.  Here's why.....

Yep, jumps along the river trail!  This is just one of several.  I've noticed them in the past and not really thought much about it.  The Xtracycle has always been my normal commuter and is NOT designed for these (and this has nothing to do with why it broke). 

Now I'm a decent mountain biker and I can handle my fair share of technical riding.  However, I have not really ridden straight up bmx style jumps in many years.  So I've been kind of taking the shoulder on these and building up to the full Monty.  Today is the first time I hit this one full tilt and boy o boy is it fun.  I'll try to get a few pictures of the others.  There is a nice hip jump where you get to do a little 30 degree turn while air born and a little launch jump that cuts off the river path at the entrance of Brod Head Park. 

So anyway, if your commute is a little chilly this week, try switching up the bike and hitting these!  It will get the adrenaline pumping and warm you up!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Driver vs. Car.....or Candid Camera?

Sorry about the commercial you have to watch, but it's a pretty good video story making the rounds on national news.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Bicyclist Killed In Truckee Crash

From News Channel 4:
 Posted: Nov 24, 2012 5:13 PM PST Updated: Nov 25, 2012 6:26 PM PST 

The Truckee Police Department is investigating a fatal accident Saturday afternoon.
Police say it happened around 3 p.m. on the Central Truckee Roundabout, near McIver Crossing.
Police say a bicyclist was struck by a vehicle while riding in the roundabout. When police and fire crews arrived on scene, they found several citizens performing first aid on the bicyclist, 45-year-old Robert Koechlin, Jr. of Los Gatos, California. He was then taken to Tahoe Forest Hospital and was pronounced dead there.
At this time, alcohol or drugs do not appear to be a factor in the collision. McIver and the area around the roundabout were closed for several hours as crews investigated and cleaned up the accident.
Police say they would like to interview anyone who saw the accident happen. If you have any information, you're being asked to call Sgt. Womack with the Truckee Police Department at (530) 550-2335.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Bring on the Holidays!

On my ride home last night I was thoroughly enjoying the fact that I have a really good light. The river path lights need a tune up so there are several sections where it's pretty dark and a powerful light makes all the difference. In my case a good light means a pretty simple minewt light like this.

However, as I rolled into downtown the need for the light pretty much disappeared, because the rink on the river was lit up like the fourth of July.  There must have been a thousand people hanging out, 3 news trucks filming, Christmas tree in full decoration, and professional skaters were spinning around the rink like no body's business.

Not a bad way to wrap up the evening bike ride!  So on that note, I'm outta here for Turkey celebrations.  I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving and a good kick off for the holidays!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Xtracycle blues....and good news.

I have officially done it.  I have ridden so much in 4.5 years that it broke....

This is the main "beam" of the xtracycle frame right behind where the wheel mount is located.  Completely snapped.  I almost couldn't believe it.  I picked up a load of groceries last week and I'd heard a new squeaking, but figured it was just the way the load was riding.  Then I pulled it out Monday and I didn't notice it.  Tuesday morning when I pulled the bike out of the house I heard it again, so I removed the bags only to discover this!  And to top it off it's cracked on the other beam as well!

It's kind of hard to see in this crappy cell phone photo, but it's there.   So of course I still rode it in to work because I was running late, but that's it for this xtracycle.

The really cool thing is that one call to Xtracycle and they said no problem, send it in and we'll ship out the new one!  Full warranty without even asking for it!  I'd have been happy if they welded it back together and called it a day.

So other than being without it for a couple weeks, it's all working out just fine.  The part that has me worried is I've heard/seen this failure before.  My buddy, the Preacher (search previous posts if you need reference here), experienced the same thing with his xtracycle a few years back if memory serves.  I think it might even have been in the same place.  So perhaps the xtracycle does have a weakness (other than it weighs a ton)!  I guess only time will tell.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Local bicycle hit and run!

From news channel 4:

Sparks, NV (KRNV & -- Sparks Police are on the lookout for a motorist who hospitalized two bikers early on Saturday, November 17th.

According to police reports, at 2:49 a.m. two cyclists were hit by a car when riding their bicycles north on Kietzke Avenue, just south of Victorian Street. The 44 year old male and 45 year old female cyclists were taken to Renown Medical Center and treated with non life-threatening injuries. Police describe the hit and run vehicle as a white Honda SUV with front end damage, including that the Honda emblem has been ripped from the grill.

Sparks Police are still searching for a suspect, and are offering a reward for information leading to the suspect. To report any information you may have, call SPD at 775-353-2231 or Secret Witness at 775-322-4900.

Renued enjoyment of the ride.

There is no denying that any activity you do every day becomes mundane.  Usually this probably means work or maybe some of the household chores that happen all the time.  For some people with a long commute (in a car) I imagine the drive is this way. 

I realized lately that even writing this blog can be that way some days.  And then I realized something even better.....even when writing about bike riding is a bit dull and uninspired....the bicycle ride itself never is!

There is always a variation of the route you haven't tried even if nothing "interesting" to write about happens.  It may not be notable or worth sharing with others, but the feeling of the cold air, drivers actually giving you a place on the road (yes, it happens), or hearing the rush of the river makes every trip fun.  You just notice more things when you aren't isolated behind metal and glass!

Today was no exception (in fact it was a banner day for new things), so here's what I saw.

The street sweeper was out cleaning up all the downed leaves.  No shocker here....but I never knew what they did when the bin filled up.  Apparently, it raises up on a scissor jack and then the whole bin dumps into a truck and he just keeps going.  Who knew.  Sorry, I missed the actual dumping...with my camera out of commission I'm struggling with a slow low resolution phone. 

And if one cool thing on a ride isn't enough.  Check out the life size nut cracker statue at the vintage clothing shop (and some early x-mas decorations).  I'm gonna have to stop and see if the arm actually moves the jaw.  If it does I'll attempt to not use it to crush a beer can!

For the tri-fecta of Monday morning entertainment.  The ice rink has been being built up over the last few days.  It now is sporting ice and I'm guessing will be open for Turkey day skating.  We finally managed to use it last year and it was really fun.  So get out and hit the'll have a blast.

Ok, so that's it for a Monday.  What did you see on your morning commute?  If it's just bumpers and consternation about how stupid the spaghetti bowl is, perhaps you need to try a new way to get to work!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The truth in "modified" advertising!

funny billboards graffiti 28 Sometimes graffiti enhances an otherwise boring billboard (31 Photos)

A fuzzy tour of 2nd St.

I left a little early this morning and changed up my route.  Today I chose to ride all the way down second street (from Keystone Ave. to Rock Blvd.).  Not exactly a bike friendly route, as there isn't a single section of bike lane on the whole thing.  It does however take you right through downtown Reno and is all 30 mph speed limits or less.

For some reason my camera is not focusing enjoy the fuzzy picture show!

Headed East on Second St. through downtown.  If it wasn't so fuzzy you could see all the traffic signals ahead.  They turned out be the theme of the ride.

Looks like you can finally purchase some of those vacant condos they developed!  If you want the urban lifestyle please sign up.  They would be great for the car free lifestyle!

More lights....

The allures of downtown....gambling and women?  Reno still needs to rethink it's identity in my mind.

The baseball stadium....which as of this morning is no longer getting 30 million in tax payer dollars to subsidize the billionaire are owner!   Good first vote new city council members!  This one basket is not where we should put all our eggs for redevelopment in my opinion.

A glimpse of the path I could be on....notice it does not have traffic signals.

More traffic signals on 2nd St.  They always seem to be red.

Another passing of the river path.  It should be noted, at this point it has taken me 8 minutes longer to get here than it takes me to get all the way to work on the path.  The route via 2nd Street is technically 1/2 mile shorter but in the end took me 12 minutes longer to ride due to all the stop lights.

I didn't take any pictures once I turned onto Rock Blvd.  This is not a road for the faint of heart when on a bicycle and no place to be fumbling with a camera.  No room for cars to pass,  no shoulders, two lanes in either direction.  A whole lot of people in a hurry to get somewhere they don't want to be....and they aren't in the mood to tolerate anyone. 

Anyway, it was a different ride and it did make for something to write about.  I don't think I'll ever take this as a regular route, but the section through downtown is at least interesting and shows that all of downtown is at your disposal on a bicycle!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Rembering the bike is on the roof rack.

I haven't done this (yet)....I suppose because I don't have a garage.  I do have a few friends who have tried it, although I don't suppose it turned out quite like this!

gifs 10 Daily Morning Awesomeness (30 Photos)

Monday, November 12, 2012


Well, I didn't ride today.  Not exactly news worthy.  Instead wifey and I went out for breakfast at the Squeeze In (in north Reno).  They had a Veterans day special for a free breakfast, and since wifey is indeed a veteran it seemed like a no brainer.  The food was fantastic (as usual). 

So I don't really have anything for you....I hope you rode today and that your path looked like this:

Enjoy those chilly fall rides while they last....soon it will be all studded tires and winter days!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Secret Love Affair....with the bike path.

If you've read this blog for any length of time you might get the idea that I am secretly in love with the river path.  Even I notice how often I post about it....and the fact that we tend to get together almost every day (and even on the weekends sometimes).  Wifey has always managed to turn a blind eye to this....and as of the last few years she has even made friends with the path herself.

This morning however, I encountered something I didn't really ever expect.  The river path seems to return the sentiment!!

Now, I'm not sure who the "artist" is....but it appears their medium is torn up discarded t-shirt, carefully rolled and aligned with, well let's just say love.  I wonder who the message is actually for, but since I'll never know, I'm going to assume that it is a general message to all cyclists from the path itself.  So if you were out on a bicycle on this chilly morning, just remember the ride loves you just was much as you love it!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Someone had a bad morning.

I changed up my route this morning and was cruising down 4th Street on the way to work when some colorful lights caught my attention.  Unfortunately, for somebody it wasn't the good kind of colorful lights!

So keep a wary eye out there on the streets...they can't even seem to see the other people in cars, so they probably won't see you on that bicycle.  On the up side drivers never fail to make a bicycle commute more interesting!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sorry, My weekend was better than yours!

Last weekend was the 1st Annual Great Basin Beer Relay (benefiting the one and only Nevada Land Trust).  Basically it's a 40 mile race with teams of four people.  Each person runs two 5 mile legs and you get a Great Basin beer for free at the end.  Oh, and it's along the river you know I'm up for it!

Since it's my commute...and the river path....our team decided to ride bikes in between our legs rather than drive.  Yep, if you're doing the math, that's ride 30 miles, run 10 miles.  It turned out awesome, and looked like this.

The bicycle line up.....note two xtracycles, one with a prepped beer!

At the start, the 55 teams in the ready!

The course included the new cycle track on Nichols Blvd.!

Rolling support crew at the ready.  Yep, it was 35 degrees at the start!

The runners hit their stride early!  Nine minute miles out of the gate!

The first hand off of the wrist band!  From rider to runner!

The reason we're here....word number 3!

Duel xtracycle support means cold beer and hot coffee at the ready....along with all the treats you can eat!

Oh, I mean Gatorade.....yeah, Gatorade on the fly!

At the was definitely the only thing getting me across this line!

The rewards!

Ok, so that was one day of my weekend.  Hope you had as much fun and suffered as much as we did!